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Getting an A1200 Online Part 2 – Adding an Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Installing an Amiga TCP/IP Stack

By the end of Part 1 we’d installed a network card and ancillary software but still couldn’t do anything useful. This is because Amiga OS doesn’t have any sort of networking features built into it. For that we need to add an Amiga TCP/IP Stack. There are a few different options available to Amiga users in this area such as Genesis, Miami(DX), Easynet and maybe a couple of others. I chose to go with Roadshow. It’s probably the fastest TCP/IP stack around and still in active development. Version 1.14 was released in September 2020.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Roadshow installation CD.

 

I bought a physical copy of the software on CD but it can be downloaded too and burned onto a CD (it’s too big to go on a floppy).  A free demo is available if you just want to try it out… it’s fully featured but times out after 30 mins.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Roadshow installer.

 

After running the installer I opted for the ‘Intermediate User’ and clicked ‘Proceed with install’.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Roadshow Installer.

 

I left the next choice as ‘Install for Real’. The ‘Pretend’ option is just there in case you want to perform a dry run.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Option to install optimised 68020 version of bdsocket.library.

 

The next choice is an important one. It asks whether it should install a special version of bdsocket.library and drivers. As I’m running this on an A1200 with a 68030 CPU I answered ‘yes’. The answer would still be yes even on a stock A1200 as that has a 68020. Of course if you were doing this on an unaccelerated A600 then the answer would be ‘no’.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Selecting where to put the Roadshow install.

 

Next the Installer asks where to install everything. This can be anywhere really but I created a directory called ‘Internet’ on my Workbench partition so I could keep everything tidy and logical. To create a directory just use the ‘Make New Drawer’ button.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Installer copying files across.

 

At this point a whole bunch of files were copied over. After a short while the penultimate ‘installation is complete’ message appeared.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Installation (almost) complete.

 

Clicking ‘proceed’ brought up the final ‘100%’ complete window.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Installation complete.

 

Manual Changes

With the automatic installation part now complete we need to finish things by hand. We need to have a configuration file that tells Roadshow which network card it should use to connect to our network and just how it should go about getting an IP.

Helpfully the installer put several template configuration files for many popular network devices in the SYS:Storage/NetInterfaces directory. The file we need for our 3Com card is called 3c589 and it needs to be copied into Devs:NetInterfaces. To do this we enter the following command into a Shell window:

Copy SYS:Storage/NetInterfaces/3c589#? Devs:NetInterfaces

The ‘#?’ is a wildcard which instructs the Amiga to copy all files that start with ‘3c589’ across. We need to specify this to ensure that the corresponding 3c589.INFO file gets copied over as well.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Copying the 3c589 files across using the Shell.

 

Once the file has been copied to its new home we need to edit it. Type in the following to use the Shell’s built in editor to make the necessary amendments:

ed: Devs:NetInterfaces/3c589

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Launching the editor.

 

The screenshot below shows the entries that need to be made. The file contains a lot of unnecessary commands and comments designed to explain what everything does. All we actually need though is the following 4 lines of code.

device=3c589.device

unit=0

configure=dhcp

requiresinitdelay=no

To save the file press ESC, then x then press return. Alternatively select ‘Save and exit’ from the Project menu.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

The 3c589 file should look like this.

 

This configures Roadshow to connect via the 3Com card and obtain an IP address over DHCP (i.e. automatically).

 

Testing

With the changes saved to the file it’s possible to check everything is working by typing the following command into the Shell.

addnetinterface 3c589

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Adding the network interface manually for testing.

 

All being well this should add the network configuration, connect to your router and acquire an IP address. Happily this worked first time for me when I tried it and brought up the screen below.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Success – Roadshow has successfully connected to the network.

 

With that little test being successful the Amiga Roadshow TCP/IP Stack install is now complete. Every time the Amiga is turned on it will automatically connect to the internet. It does this behind the scenes so you won’t even be aware of it.

 

A Couple of Additions

Because of the lack of a visual interface for Roadshow I recommend a couple of other small programs (Netmon and Roadie) to provide a bit of feedback and convenience.

These programs are available from Aminet here:

Aminet – comm/net/netmon.lha

Aminet – comm/net/Roadie.lha

Both programs require no installation, just extract the archives to a folder somewhere on your Amiga and run them from there. I opted to put them into the ‘Internet’ folder that I created during the Roadshow install.

Netmon displays a little toolbar on the desktop containing info about download speed, total traffic and time connected.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

NetMon Floating Info Bar.

 

Roadie provides a GUI for connecting and disconnecting to and from your network. It also provides information about your current connection such as IP address and DNS servers etc.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Roadie – ‘Show Net Status’.

 

It also offers quick access to the PING command which comes in very useful for troubleshooting. Of course all these commands are available from a command line within the Shell but it’s very convenient to have them accessible via a GUI.

 

Amiga TCP/IP Stack

Roadie – ‘Ping’.

 

So now we have our Amiga A1200 with a working network card, configured TCP/IP stack and successfully connected to our network with a few extra tools to make life easier. In Part 3 I will look at installing a modern web browser capable of accessing https websites so we can finally do something on the Internet!

         

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Steven

Gamer, gadget lover, retro Commodore computer fan and general all round geek.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I could see this being benefitial as a replacement for larger PCMACIA CF data transfers but will e.g. Directory Opus be able to map a network drive so it is possible to download from there instead?

    • Good question… I set out just to get my Amiga online so I could surf and download files from Aminet directly, check my email and maybe just maybe access DropBox. Mapping a network drive or having some sort of network file sharing is something I will definitely be looking at shortly in a future Part 5 perhaps!

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